Faith Leads to Action

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
James 2:14–19
Faith Leads to Action
Oh, dear Christian, this is perhaps one of the most misunderstood passages by the world. The world and the devil want us to put the emphasis on the good works and our sinful flesh is all too happy to take credit where no credit is due. We cannot do anything to save ourselves. We must depend completely and solely on Jesus Christ. We say, “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to him” (Small Catechism Meaning, 3rd Article). Our salvation must come from outside of us. The Holy Spirit must call us by the Gospel and enlighten us by his good gifts. We become holy because God makes us holy, not because of some work that we do that impresses him. But the Christian does good works. It’s automatic. It’s natural, like lemons on a lemon tree. You expect lemons on a lemon tree, not apples. So also, from the faith that grows in your heart, God expects good work. It’s natural. You can’t stop it. It doesn’t save you, but it testifies of you and your faith that the Holy Spirit gave you. Jesus says, “you will know the tree by its fruit,” and Saint Paul says, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.”
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